an Occasional Paper brought to you by the British TAFF Administrator,
GREG PICKERSGILL, of 7a LAWRENCE ROAD, SOUTH EALING, LONDON W5 4XJ.
SO WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING?
Not much. JEANNE GOMOLL, United States TAFF representative, passed through town a couple of months back. Had a fine time doing this and doing that. Went to Brighton, met a few fans. Went to Rainham, met a few fans. Went to York. Not many fans in York. Went to Leeds. Of which it has been said. Went to visit some guy called Willis in Northern Ireland, where it is said fans existed in legendary times. Saw a lot of British fans doing their do. Reactions to Ms Gomoll's presence among us seem to vary from the wild Goshwowboyoboygeewhizisms that TAFF of course seeks to promote, to the more terse and dispiriting 'Who?' The general feeling was, however, that three weeks was far too short a time for even one so luminous as J.G. to cast her light over these islands, no matter how small they might appear in relation to the vastnesses of Wisconsin. The Parks and Recreation Department of that same state bears the blame, of course, for not allowing our recent visitor sufficient leave. However, a tough job neatly done.
AND WHAT DID IT COST?
Not much. Anyway, is that all you're interested in? Oh, I get it, you're thinking of standing next year and you want to know whether the fund can support you. Well, we can probably scrape enough together for an airticket and a tubefare to Heathrow. Ha. Ha. Seriously though folks, TAFF-UK funds are short but strong, like so many favourite fannish experiences. Right after the last election we had £1251.45 in the pocket. An auction at the Beccon Eastercon raised another £100 for TAFF (as well as money for GUFF and the Fanzine Foundation) and another at the Worldcon, held under the vague banner of United Fan Funds and collecting on behalf of TAFF and GUFF raised £538.03. The 10% commission on fanzine sales from the Fan Room tables, along with sales of fanzines specifically for fan funds raised another £308.17, and this in turn was rounded off by the contributions box on the Fanzine Giveaway table yielding £49.52, making £895.52 altogether. TAFF and PUFF Administrators in conference rapidly decided to take £400 each, and deliver the remaining £95 odd to the Fanzine Foundation. Which of course gave TAFF a theoretical £1751.45. This was rapidly reduced by £590 which was spent on Jeanne Gomoll's trip, leaving us with a present £1161 and a few measly pence. Which is, in its way, not bad, being less than a hundred pounds short of the sum I inherited when I took over in 1986. Still, there's no such thing as too much, and though there will be no TAFF auction at Novacon (there will be one at Follycon, having given you time to gather your pennies after the shock of Worldcon) any all donations are welcome.
SO WHAT NEXT?
Well, is this fun or what? Virtually the very next thing to be happening in TAFF time (that which makes the mere passing of days seem veritable geological aeons) is the
BRITISH TAFF ELECTION FOR 1988 !!!!
Boy-o-boy, yes, it's true, next year one of you lucky people, maybe even you reading this right now, will be elected to zoom crazily through the skies to NEW ORLEANS, home of the twentyfour-hour bar and the crawfish, to wander lost and confused through the 1988 Worldcon, NOLACON 2. The good part is it is virtually free. But there are SNAGS, and OBSTACLES to overcome before you reach that temporary fannish Valhalla. And even then your problems are not over. I advise you to read the other side of this sheet before you get overwhelmed with hubris. Or anything else.
SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, MASTER?
As we all know, or we shouldn't even be beginning to think about running for TAFF, should we little fans, the Transatlantic Fan Fund was set up in the drear days of the early Fifties when America was further away than Glasgow and the only chance American and British fans had of seeing each other was if they both had cameras. Beginning as a one-off fund to ferry the superhumanly gifted Walter A. Willis to an American convention it became an annual turnabout, with a British or European fan visiting America and an American coming over here on a virtually annual basis. These individuals were of course selected from a list of nominations by secret ballot by a general jury of their peers in both countries. The main costs of the trip, travel and accommodation, are paid for from the relevant funds. The winner, after the trip, is responsible for administering the fund until superseded by the next winner on their side of the Atlantic, and is also responsible for fundraising to ensure there is always sufficient cash in hand to cover at least the next visit from the other side and the outgoing expenses of their successor. There is also the heavy moral responsibility of writing an endlessly long report about one's doings whilst in some faraway land, but that is sadly more ignored than honoured, as any brief inspection of a list of British/European and American TAFF winners will tell you. Which does not, of course, make the failure to bring light to the masses any less reprehensible a betrayal of the common goodwill.
So how does one reach this state, to be so feted then weighted with responsibilities? Well, things have changed in the house of fandom over the last thirty-odd years. However, in the ideal world, let us say, and we're discussing the upcoming British TAFF election for a representative fan to travel to the US in 1988 here here, for example, things would be like the following; five individuals, three of them active and aware British fans, two equally alert American fans with, one hopes, a distinct interest in British fandom, would collude together and decide to nominate Little Jimmy Fan, worldwide-known for his Stakhanovite contributions to fandom over the decades. They would then each individually write to the relevant administrator -- in this case, as it is a Britain/Europe to the USA run, to the British administrator -- and make their feelings known. The administrator would check with the fan so nominated, gain his/her agreement to participate in the shape of a written agreement to serve if elected along with a purely nominal £5 bond, and, at the deadline for nominations, add LJF's name to the lengthy list of other nominees, issue the ballot form which would be widely disseminated by all the various nominators, and await the hundreds of votes which would rush in well in advance of the deadline for voting, and a winner would emerge into the glory of the fannish dawn, a wreath of stencils about their brow.
Of course it isn't like that at all. The usual riff is for some individual to decide they stand a chance of winning after being in fandom for more than five minutes ('and anyway, if he can win I ought to') to spend some time ringing round acquaintances asking them to nominate them (fear not, most fans are too timid to refuse for fear of causing embarrassment) and generally setting the whole deal up themselves. And why not. This isn't the ideal world we're living in here. No roses round my duplicator handle.
Anyway, the facts. Most of the above is true. In order to travel as TAFF delegate (quaint phrase) to the USA in 1988 you need three (3) nominations from active British fans, two (2) from active American fans, a letter of intent, and £5 bond. All this to be received by the British Administrator (address overleaf) by 31st DECEMBER 1987. In writing. And that deadline will be strictly observed. No exceptions. Voting forms will be issued immediately afterwards, and nominees and nominators alike should be aware that they are responsible for promoting themselves or the person they have nominated. (In recent times nominators, sometimes only marginally related to British fandom, have done nothing to support their candidates. This isn't adequate). The deadline for VOTING will be 15th APRIL 1988. That gives a longish period, and covers the Eastercon, with enough time afterwards for votes canvassed there to reach the administrator by mail. That deadline will also be strictly observed. Votes will be counted immediately, and the winner informed right away. Detailed information about voting and voting qualifications will be on the ballot form issued in the first week of January 1988. That's it.
Up to you now. Contact the relevant address for further information. No acceptance of bribes will be admitted. Oh, remember the 20% Rule. It's my favourite.